Tag Archives: dessert

Taro Coconut Milk with Tapioca (西米露)

31 Jul

Summer is a time for cool, refreshing desserts. Xi mi lu is a popular Asian dessert commonly served after dinner at restaurants, and it is suuuper easy to make. The only difficult part is waiting for the damn thing to cool enough to count as “refreshing”. I burned about fifty layers of skin off the roof of my mouth by tasting it as it cooked.

PSA: Coconut milk fresh off the stove is Very Hot.

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Taro Coconut Milk with Tapioca (西米露)
Adapted from Eupho Cafe (Recipe in Chinese)

Ingredients
2/3 cup mini tapioca pearls
600g (about one med) taro
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar

Cook the tapioca. The original recipe says to boil water, turn off the heat, add the tapioca, and cover for 20 minutes. Reboil, turn off heat, and cover for 10 minutes. This doesn’t make any sense to me because when you cook tapioca, you have to stir constantly to make sure the pearls don’t stick to each other.  However, I followed the directions blindly and ended up with a solid block of tapioca. I spent the next hour or so trying to separate the pearls. Go Christine. You’re a smart one. Also, I don’t know why my tapioca is green.

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SO. Let’s try this again.

Cook the tapioca. Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Add the tapioca and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. The pearls should turn clear when they’re cooked, with no opaque white dots in the middle. Cooked tapioca is slightly chewy (or “QQ”), neither hard nor mushy. Immediately drain and transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.

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Now, taro is a PAIN to work with. They’re tough little buggers to peel, and bleed starch all over your hands. Do you best to cut them into 1cm cubes.

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Toss them into a pot with the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add the sugar and cover, stirring occasionally until taro becomes soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator. When ready to eat, drain the tapioca again and add to the taro/coconut milk soup. Mix and serve.

Length of Procrastination: 50 minutes of hands-on time, forever and a half to chill.
Ways to Prolong Procrastination: Cook the tapioca wrongly and spend forever trying to separate the chunks.

Meet My New Toy

16 Jul

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She was sitting on the shelf at Rite-Aid with a little $19.99 tag in front of her. I walked past her and stole a glance. She glanced back. I walked past again, this time looking pointedly, but trying not to act too interested. She looked pointedly back. On the third pass, I stopped in front of her and stared. She stared back, flashing her cardboard box seductively so that the light bounced off the words “delicious versitility” and “fully automatic”. I nervously shifted my weight from one foot to the other, then stooped down to look her in the eye. She cocked her head and winked at me. I caved.

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Yes. I bought an ice cream maker from Rite-Aid. I dare you to judge me after eating some of the ice cream that comes out of it (I feel like using the feminine pronoun here would be inappropriate for some audiences). I don’t have $50 to blow on some gorgeous Cuisineart supermodel. My cute little Hamilton Beach does the job and does it well. Sure, her extension cord is only about a foot long. Sure, it takes an entire freezer full of ice, plus half a carton of salt, for her to freeze ice cream properly. Sure, she’s a bit bulky and unwieldy, but dangnammit, she makes a gallon of ice cream in the flavor of my choice. And that, my friends, is true love.

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I’ve made two kinds of ice creams so far: green tea and raspberry+apricot. The green tea was the honest-to-goodness best green tea ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s not made with a custard base (no eggs!), so it’s got a much lighter texture–just like green tea is supposed to be. I’ve always thought that the store-bought versions were too creamy and too sweet, but this ice cream is absolutely perfect. Plus? No heat, so you can go from mixing bowl to mouth in less than an hour.

The raspberry and apricot ice cream came out with a consistency more like frozen yogurt than ice cream, probably due to the amount of water in it. This didn’t bother me, but the apricot syrup did come with a whole ton of sugar, making the final product really crazy freaking sweet. Not that I’m complaining or anything, but I’d probably cut the amount of granulated sugar I put in by half if I were to make this again.

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Green Tea Ice Cream
From Jason Truesdell

Ingredients
4 cups heavy cream
4 cups whole milk
2 cups  sugar
4 heaping tbsp matcha (green tea) powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk the matcha with the milk and sugar, making sure the powder dissolves. Stir in the cream and vanilla. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes, then freeze and churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Makes about 3 quarts.

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Raspberry and Apricot Ice Cream
I made it up! Seriously.

Ingredients
5 cups milk (I used 2%)
3 cups + a sprinkle of sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 large eggs, beaten
4.5 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 can of apricot halves (12 oz.)
2 cups frozen raspberries

Combine milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil!

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs as you pour half of the hot milk mixture into it. This tempers the eggs so that you get custard instead of scrambled eggs when you pour everything back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat while stirring until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. It’ll be nice and thick and almost gooey. Chill in the refrigerator (or freezer).

While you’re waiting for your custard base to cool, scoop out your apricot halves and dice them. Save the syrup! Size doesn’t matter a whole heckuva lot. Just make sure you’re okay with that size apricot going into your mouth. Add the syrup and apricot pieces into your cooling custard.

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In a small saucepan, heat the frozen raspberries with a sprinkle of sugar so that their juices come out. Stir and squash them as best you can, then pour the raspberries through a strainer into your apricot-flavored custard. This’ll remove the raspberry seeds and residual pulp, but feel free to skip this step if you like the crunch.

When everything’s cold, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Freeze and churn according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

Makes one gallon.

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Length of procrastination: 50 minutes  (green tea), 1.5 hours (raspberry apricot)

Ways to prolong procrastination: Repeatedly open the freezer door to check whether the custard is cool yet. The answer is no, and it probably prolongs the cooling process. Oops.

Also: Bobby’s back! All the nice, high-res artsy-fartsy photos were taken by him. Visit his blog for more pictures and general awesomeness. ^^

I’m submitting these to the Ice Cream Social hosted by Savor The Thyme, Tangled Noodle and Scotty Snacks.

Flat Banana Bread

25 Jun

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I found bananas at Haymarket last weekend for $1/10 bananas. Why any one single person would ever want ten bananas is beyond me, but I saw the slightly bruised beauties and immediately thought BANANA BREAD. After much internal struggle to decide whether chocolate chip banana bread or raisin+walnut banana bread is better, I caved and just made both. The recipe I followed yields enough batter for three mini-loaves, but I guess Bobby’s two full-sized loaf pans were too big for the batter. The result? Two rather flat loaves of banana bread.

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Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips or Raisin and Walnuts
Modified from The Delicious Life

Ingredients
1¾ cups + 2 Tbsp flour (I ran out of AP flour after a cup and made up the rest with self-rising flour)
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
3 small mashed overripe bananas (about 1 cup)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk (or, 1/3 cup skim milk + a few squirts of lemon juice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
splash of vanilla extract
handful of chocolate chips, raisins, and walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix dry and wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms.

Grease and flour two loaf pans. This is important because if you don’t, your bread won’t want to come out of the pan. Observe:

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Divide batter among loaf pans and stir in desired ingredients (chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, baby fingers, etc.). Bake for 35 minutes or until deeply golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Sadly, all of my chocolate chips sank to the bottom of the batter and I ended up with essentially a layer of chocolate and a layer of bread. Fortunately, the flatness of the bread makes it so you can take a vertical bite and get both flavors in a single mouthful. “But the chocolate chips are all on the top of the bread in the following picture!” you say? That’s because the loaf is upside-down, silly. My bad.

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All in all, this banana bread is pretty tasty. The chocolate chip loaf was a little too sweet, so next time I’ll have to cut back on the sugar. It’s a very moist, cake-y bread, and perhaps a little too chewy for my taste. Perhaps I’ll shorten the baking time  and add a little more baking powder for more leavening power next time.

Length of procrastination: 30 minutes prep + 35 minutes baking

Ways to prolong procrastination: Count the number of B’s used in this blog post. Or, make garlic bread simultaneously. (Guess what the next post will be about!)

Sweet mung bean soup (綠豆湯)

29 Apr

This is quite possibly the simplest soup you’ll ever make, short of heating up a can of Campbell’s or something. It’s perfect hot on a frigid winter morning or cold on a warm spring afternoon.

Sweet Mung Bean Soup (綠豆湯)
From my momma’s kitchen. No, really.

  • 1 small pack of mung beans (available at your local Asian supermarket)
  • sugar (preferably rock sugar, also available at your local Asian supermarket, but brown or white work as well)
  • a lot of water (roughly 1:4 ratio mung beans to water by volume)

Bring water to a boil. Add mung beans. Cover and cook until beans are soft, about 30 minutes. Add sugar to taste.

That’s all there is to it. Told you it was easy. Stick it in the refrigerator if you want to drink it cold.

Length of procrastination: 30 minutes

Ways to prolong procrastination: Pour leftover soup into an ice tray, cover with saran wrap, stick toothpicks in each compartment. Freeze, and you have yourself mung bean popsicles!

Procrastinating procrastination

5 Apr

Bobby and I have gotten procrastination down to an art. Not only do we cook to procrastinate, we also procrastinate cooking and procrastinate blogging about cooking once we’ve finally done it. Observe:
apples
March 10
C: “Let’s bake apple pie for pi day!”
B: “Okay!”

March 14
C: “I’m kinda tired.”
B: “Yeah, me too. Let’s make pie some other time.”

March 28
B: “Let’s make pie.”
C: “Okay!”
B and C: *make pie…several hours later*

March 29
C: “Let’s blog about pie.”
B: “No, you do it.”
C: “Okay, later.”

March 30
C: “We should blog about pie.”
B: Zzz…
C: “Okay, maybe later.”

April 1
C: *blogs about pie during class* Bobby, I need pictures from your camera.
B: Okay.

April 2
C: Bobby, I need pictures from your camera.
B: Okay. *uploads pictures onto his laptop*

April 3
C: Bobby, I need pictures from your camera.
B: …

April 5
C: Post!
B: Ok I’m done.

So! Twenty-one days after pie was supposed to happen, we present to you apple pie…

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Apple Pie (Called “Bobby’s Apple Pie, Lovingly Baked by Mark and Christine” at 2008 MIT Sport TKD Winter Banquet)
Bastardized from Smitten Kitchen

Lattice Crust

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 7 tbsp all-vegetable shortening, diced (don’t think about it…just use it)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • ~10 tbsp ice water

Apple Pie Filling

  • 5 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 1 medium MacIntosh apple (in discussing this blog post, Bobby and I realized why Apple computers are called Macs)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 crapton cinnamon (to taste; other spices including nutmeg and allspice may be used, too)
  • 1 egg white, beaten lightly

For the crust…

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in large bowl. Fold in butter and shortening using a fork or spatula until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add ice water and knead with your hands until a dough forms. More water may be necessary, but be careful not to make the dough mushy.

Divide dough into two halves and flatten both. Place one disk in a pie tin and cover the other with aluminum foil (what we used) or saran wrap (what we should’ve used). Refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour while you make the filling.

For the sweet and gooey…

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core, and dice all the apples. Combine apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon (and other spices, if applicable), flour, and salt in a large bowl and mix until all the apples are covered. Taste testing is highly encouraged. Turn apples into dough-covered pie tin.

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Cut the second dough disk into strips and make lattice crust. Smitten Kitchen has an excellent method here.

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Brush egg white over crust (we just used a fork, but if you have a paintbrush, by all means…). The remaining dough can be used creatively.

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Place pie on lowest level of oven and bake until crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Lower oven to 375 degrees, rotate pie, and bake until the juices bubble, about another 30 minutes. Note that at this point, the pie filling is extremely hot. We know you want to eat it, but for the love of your tongue please let your pie cool!

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Serves between 1 and 8, depending on slice size and selfishness factor.

Length of procrastination: 2.5 hours

Ways to prolong procrastination: Bake the pie in a dorm kitchen instead of in Bobby’s kitchen. Run between the kitchen in the basement and Christine’s room on the third floor every five minutes to retrieve forgotten ingredients or utensils.

Guinness cupcakes with Baileys frosting

19 Mar

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we have put a bit of Guinness, whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish cream to good use in this recipe from Smitten Kitchen – Irish car bomb cupcakes. I had already gone through a four pack of the Guinness we had planned to use the first time we wanted to make these delicious cupcakes, so we decided to hurry up and make it, just in time for Boston’s favorite holiday, and to prevent me from finishing another four pack.

These cupcakes are amazing. Christine likes them as long as the ganache filling isn’t too strong tasting. We had to improvise a bit because of some first time mistakes, but overall it turned out really well, and partygoers at a recent CW Taekwondo party seemed to agree.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen: (changes are made in bold)

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Irish Drunken Cupcakes

Cupcake batter

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup L.A. Burdick’s dark hot chocolate drink mix
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Vanilla Ganache Filling

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (heavy cream if you have it, we didn’t)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn starch

1/2 shot Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting

3 to 4 cups sugar (for a more smooth frosting, use confectioner’s sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
Baileys to taste (about 1 or 2 shots)

Make the cupcake batter
Heat up the butter and Guinness over medium heat. Add in chocolate powder and mix until thoroughly melted, and take off heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Since it’s after Valentine’s Day, leftover heart-covered liners are great.

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Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients (eggs, sour cream, and stout mixture) in another bowl and beat until blended.

ingredients

mixing

Add the dry ingredients and fold into the mixture until completely combined. Do this with a large rubber spatula and make sure that all the dry powder has mixed completely.

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Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full, and bake for about 17 minutes, until a chopstick or toothpick comes out clean when poked into the middle of a cupcake. Rotate tray half way through to ensure even heating.

Make the ganache

On medium heat mix the butter, vanilla, and milk in a sauce pan until the butter is completely melted. Keep stirring and do not let the milk burn. In a small bowl, mix the whiskey and cornstarch until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and the mixture is a thick and smooth liquid.

frosting-ingredients

Pour the mixture into the sauce pan, constantly stirring and flattening out lumps. Pour the sugar into the mixture and stir until everything is combined and thick, and pour into a bowl to cool. Note: to make the ganache less alcoholic tasting, use less whiskey or add more sugar.

Make the frosting

We didn’t quite follow the directions correctly but our frosting came out pretty well anyways. You should have the butter at room temperature and whip it until it is fluffy, then add confectioner’s sugar and keep whipping it until it is thick. We basically heated up cold butter in the microwave until it was basically melted, and added in granulated sugar and made it completely mixed. The sugar remains granular so the icing is kind of crunchy. Then, add in one or two shots of Bailey’s and continue to mix.

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Fill and frost the cupcakes

We took an empty water bottle, removed the cap, and used the opening to make holes in the cupcakes. Slowly push down as you twist the bottle back and forth, and when it has gone into the cupcake past where the lid usually stops, pull it out.

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There will be a small plug of cupcake in the bottle, and a quick squeeze will cause it to fly out into willing and hungry mouths. To fill them with the ganache, spoon all the ganache into a plastic bag and seal it. Cut off the tip of a corner of the bag, and use the bag to squeeze small amounts of filling into the holes in the cupcakes.

Put the frosting into another bag and use it similarly to put frosting on top of the cupcake. Then use a knife or spoon to spread the frosting around to cover the top of the cupcake. Makes 4 batches of 6 cupcakes plus two more. The frosting and ganache may run out early, so you will end up with some cupcakes with frosting and ganache, some cupcakes with only frosting, and some plain cupcakes, which will be good depending on how Irish your friends are.

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Total procrastination: about 2.5 hrs
Ways to prolong procrastination: make a mushroom pizza (recipe to be written). Drink the remaining Guinness (you will have about half of a beer left.) Have an actual Irish car bomb.

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